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The dating game

In an increasingly crowded fintech market we take a look at what we can potentially learn from the dating scene and how it may help to negate the unhappy story of the fintech providers who are being left on the shelf with no one willing to engage.

Today’s digitally driven world means that anything can become ‘viral’ in seconds, minutes or hours. And whilst technology issues will inevitably arise, it’s how you handle them that really counts. If you have fallen short in a previous engagement or have acted without integrity, your reputation will quickly become tarnished and sometimes irreparable.

First impressions
Everyone is being bombarded with news and advertising often resulting in information overload. Timing is everything, and unless you pay care and attention to your messaging, you are in grave danger of being overlooked or deemed irrelevant. If you do manage to land a face to face meeting, then don’t go in there, armed with a linear and convoluted PowerPoint deck. To be memorable you must deliver stimulating and intelligent insights and demonstrate a clear understanding of your audience’s business needs. Build empathy – people buy from people.

Never know where you stand
Sales cycles are LONG. And even if you are offered an RFI opportunity you need to quickly identify your champion and stay close. Too many fintech’s fail to understand the importance of building positive and highly collaborative relationships with their potential customers. Prospects must be qualified, not just tyre kickers and all CEOs need to be able to identify when they are flogging a dead horse and politely withdraw.

Social media and Google
As soon as you’ve contacted someone by phone, email or in person, they will immediately ‘Google’ or ‘Connect’ with you on LinkedIn. Your social media profiles and website messaging have to be aligned and contain current and thought-provoking content. There is nothing worse than going to a website and seeing their last news or blog post was 12 months ago. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) must be invested in – if your business is not listed on the first page of Google search you might as well not exist.

Have they told their friends about me?
Sales processes are complicated and if your champion hasn’t introduced you to the boss, budget holder or other stake holders then you need to start asking questions. I can’t stress enough how many fintech sales people are pounding the pavements without a snowball’s chance in hell of selling anything. CEOs should be conscious of their sales executive’s ROI. It can take months, and sometimes years, to secure a deal so you must periodically review relationships and ensure you’re not harvesting an infertile field.

The first date
The days of excessive entertaining are pretty much over. Partly due to stringent policies around bribery and corruption, but also because everyone is under immense pressure in terms of workloads and responsibilities and are very often confined to the office. The relevance of conferences and trade shows is diminishing and the impact of GDPR on building qualified sales pipelines will be far reaching.

Facebook official
Have you got a named case study? Sound familiar… Nobody wants to be the first. Most financial firms are afraid to be early adopters and unless you are in-play in one of their peer organizations you are often disregarded. So, if you do manage to secure a high-profile client then you absolutely want to tell the world about it. But no, all too often Corporate Communications are the gate keepers and won’t sanction any publicity. Virtually every financial firm publicly states they are supporting innovation – but we have to ask – are they really? If they want to help the small fintech providers why won’t they go on record and announce the relationship?

Dating agencies or apps
Who says three’s a crowd? Today people rarely meet organically. Anyone who is single is either a fully paid up member of a dating agency or exploring other connection options. And this should not be frowned upon. The buyer / seller community in financial services could learn from this approach. By promoting yourself in a forum where everyone is participating with genuine intentions then you will surely increase the chances of engagement.

Be wary of the ‘catfish’ – someone who is not who they say they are. Being honest and having integrity is fundamental to building a successful business. Consider what we have already mentioned above in terms of reputation and you will understand why the days of winging it are long gone. Third party objective validation of your capabilities is the most effective and respected way to achieve this.

On the eve of a royal wedding lets allow a little romance into our business lives and look at how the dating game has been revolutionized over the past 50 years. If we can bring a bit more of the same passion and creativity into the way we approach business development, then it’s only a matter of time before we are making law binding, long term commitments to each other




Comments: (1)

Ketharaman Swaminathan
Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune 23 May, 2018, 12:12Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Great post. Resonates very well with my experience of seeing fintechs trying to sell to banks. Big reason for the disconnect I've observed is, fintechs rely on Innovators and Early Adopters whereas most midsize to large banks belong to Early Majority and Late Majority stages of the technology adoption lifecycle / chasm.

On a side note, why can't you "deliver stimulating and intelligent insights and demonstrate a clear understanding of your audience’s business needs" in a PowerPoint deck? According to unconfirmed reports about the origins of PowerPoint, Christopher Colombus used a PowerPoint slide deck to present his business plan to Queen Isabella for exploration of the New World:) 

Chris Corson

Chris Corson

Co-Founder & Executive Chairman

The Disruption House

Member since

18 May 2018



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